Identifying eucalypts on your property
10 June 2016
Whether undertaking revegetation works or looking to understand the natural values of your land, knowing what plants are on your property is an important part of managing remnant vegetation and making decisions about land and grazing management.
One of the most dominant features of the landscape is the iconic eucalypt tree. There are nearly 900 species of eucalypts in Australia and no matter what part of NSW you live in, you are almost certain to have them on your rural property, whether naturally occurring or planted in the garden.
In the Yass area there are a number of eucalypts that look very similar, however the differences are quite distinct upon inspection of the buds and fruit. Whilst a botanical eye is the most reliable way to determine individual species, there are some easy to distinguish features that will help you with your identification, in particular the bark, leaves, buds and fruit (gumnuts). You can get a fairly good identification when these characteristics are combined. Each feature is not very reliable as an identifier on its own.
Some common eucalypt species in the Yass area are brittle gum (E. mannifera) and scribbly gum (E. rossii). These are two commonly confused species as they both have smooth creamy bark.
There are a number of ways to tell the two apart. Brittle gum has a powdery bark that leaves a “bloom” on your hand if you brush it, and scribbly gum almost always has insect “scribbles” on the bark. Scribbly gums also have pressure ridges that look like wrinkles under the branches, giving it a “wrinkly armpit” look. Also, if you count the number of buds, brittle gum has up to seven per cluster, and scribbly gum has more than seven.
The specific places that certain eucalypt species occur is determined by factors such as topography, climate, soil type and competition with other plants for resources. So you may find that you have manna gums growing in the wetter areas of your property and red stringybarks and brittle gums on the drier ridges.
When you are seeking identification, it helps to note where in the landscape the plant is growing, in addition to documenting as many of the identifying features as possible.
South East Local Land Services has staff that can help with plant identification. To assist us with your enquiry you can arrange to bring to our office specimens, such as a portion of the stem showing the leaves in position with flowers or fruit. In the absence of open flowers, buds should be included. Seeds can also be useful in the identification of plants. Alternatively, you can email photos of plants to us.
There are also several useful resources that can help you to identify eucalypts including online resources and field guides.
If you are considering clearing native vegetation on your property, would like more information about natural values in your area, or would like assistance managing your native vegetation, please contact Laura Canackle at South East Local Land Services, Yass on 02 6118 7708 or email email@example.com.
Media contact: Laura Canackle, 02 6118 7708